Parliament members Mats Johansson and Luciano Astudillo have invited director Fredrik Gertten to screen BANANAS!* in the Swedish parliament on October 1.
Following a press release about the meeting, Michael Carter, Executive Vice President of Dole, sent a letter to Johansson and Astudillo. In the letter, Carter provides Dole’s perspective on BANANAS!* and “a more complete understanding, given the October 1 screening”.
Excerpt from the letter:
“Dole is a strong believer in freedom of speech, but the filmmakers acted irresponsibly when they released a knowingly false film. Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the free speech rights entail a duty to act responsibly and avoid making knowingly false statements. As the great scholar Alexander Bickel once said, the First Amendment requires those who invoke it to exercise “self-discipline and self-restraint” to avoid disseminating false information. But the BANANAS!* filmmakers abdicated any sense of responsibility, self-restraint, or self-discipline when they released this film despite knowing its entire premise has been ruled to be a fraud on Dole and California’s courts. As the United States Supreme Court has ruled, “[T]there is no constitutional values in false statements of fact.”
After the screening on October 1, a panel discussion will be held about the limits of freedom of speech and artistic responsibility. In addition to Gertten, Astudillo and Johansson, the panel includes Percy Bratt, free speech lawyer and chairman of The Swedish Helsinki Committee for human rights.
From the press release, September 17, 2009:
In a statement related to the screening, parliament member Mats Johansson writes: “For me as a former journalist and publisher the "BANANAS!*" case is of great political importance. The freedom of speech is central to an open society, and must be protected all over the world. The outcome of the process is crucial for the future in a global context, which is a new situation to Swedish standards.”
Parliament member Luciano Astudillo states: “I strongly disapprove with Dole’s attempts to silence BANANAS!*. This is an attack on freedom of expression, which is a fundamental part of any open society. A major company should respect the freedom of speech and the independence of filmmakers.”
The meeting will be held on Thursday, October 1, 13-16 PM
Venue: Mittpoolen, entrance: Riksgatan 2, Stockholm
The meeting is open to journalists (the date for prior notification has passed).
Read more about Dole’s lawsuit and our Anti-SLAPP motion and Cross-Complaint:
- July 9, 2009: BANANAS!* is getting sued by Dole
- July 28, 2009: First Amendment attorney to take on Dole lawsuit
- Sep 10, 2009: BANANAS!* strike back at Dole
- Sep 29, 2009: "Dole threatens free speech"